Schumer: Odessa shooting 'could have been avoided' with background check bill

Schumer: Odessa shooting 'could have been avoided' with background check bill
© Greg Nash
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Predictions of disaster for Democrats aren't guarantees of midterm failure Voting rights and Senate wrongs MORE (D-N.Y.) said on Tuesday that the shooting in Odessa, Texas, "could have been avoided" if Congress had passed the House's universal background check legislation. 
 
"If the House-passed background checks bill would have been signed into law, this tragedy could have been avoided. Leader McConnell — you have no excuse," Schumer said.
 
Schumer's comments come after reports earlier Tuesday that the suspect in Saturday's shooting obtained the gun through a private sale, which is exempt from federal background check requirements. Twenty-one states have passed laws that extend background checks to some private sales, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, but Texas is not one of those states. 
 
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The detail that the alleged shooter purchased the gun through a private sale is already fueling calls from Democrats and gun reform advocates for the GOP-controlled Senate to take up the House-passed bill. 
 
"The Senate must vote on the House bill next week — not a diluted bill, not a bill on other matters. We must take a vote on the House-passed bill to close these loopholes without delay," Schumer said Tuesday. 
 
No Senate Republicans have backed universal background checks after the Odessa shooting, or last month's mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas. The White House has also threatened to veto the bill, a hurdle for supporters trying to pressure Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 WATCH: The Hill recaps the top stories of the week Effort to overhaul archaic election law wins new momentum MORE (R-Ky.), who has pegged giving legislation a floor vote to its ability to win over Trump. 
 
John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, similarly tied the Odessa shooting to the fact that that universal background check legislation hasn't passed the Senate.
 
“This is exhibit A of the deadliness of the background check loophole. This weekend alone, seven Americans are dead after a preventable mass shooting, because the Senate has refused to require background checks on all gun sales,” he said in a statement. “Americans are tired of excuses: The time for Senate action on background checks is now, and Americans will not be fooled by a weak, ineffective legislative response.”